News

Gunshot-tracking system goes citywide in EPA

East Palo Alto becomes first community in the United States to have citywide coverage or gunshot-triangulation technology

A gunshot-tracking system that helped East Palo Alto police nab three violent gang members in March is going citywide, believed to make the community the first in the United States to have a citywide system.

The system, which has been used in other nearby cities on a limited basis, was tested in East Palo Alto on New Year's Eve 2007, a time when gun-happy celebrants are known to fire weapons into the air to ring in the New Year.

So far, 32 cities across the United States use the "ShotSpotter GLS" to pinpoint illegal discharges of firearms within limited areas of their jurisdictions. The system detects and triangulates the location of gunshots and explosions.

It also records incidents and tracks all accumulated data for crime analysis, enabling law enforcement to develop anti-crime strategies.

East Palo Alto is the first city in the country to use the system citywide, city officials said in a press release.

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"The expansion of ShotSpotter citywide will enhance our ability to further reduce gun violence and enhance overall public safety," Police Chief Ron Davis said.

Since its Dec. 31, 2007 inauguration, the system has tracked an average of 30 gunshots per month -- more than 400 since its implementation. Seven suspects were arrested and 10 firearms were discovered, including evidence related to crimes, the release stated.

In one shooting incident, a gunshot victim at Stanford Hospital told medical personnel he was shot in East Palo Alto, but the system proved the shooting did not occur in the city. Investigation determined that the victim accidentally shot himself while committing an armed robbery in another city, police said.

On March 8, three gang members were arrested after a high-speed car chase when the "ShotSpotter" pinpointed gunfire by the suspects, whose car was then spotted by a police officer. The men were arrested after a chase over the Dumbarton Bridge when their car hit a curb and blew out its tires.

East Palo Alto has experienced a rise in shootings in the last year, the most recent on Nov. 5, when a 23-year-old man was wounded in a leg.

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The expansion of the "ShotSpotter" system is being funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice through help from U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo.

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Gunshot-tracking system goes citywide in EPA

East Palo Alto becomes first community in the United States to have citywide coverage or gunshot-triangulation technology

by / Palo Alto Online

Uploaded: Mon, Nov 10, 2008, 9:05 pm

A gunshot-tracking system that helped East Palo Alto police nab three violent gang members in March is going citywide, believed to make the community the first in the United States to have a citywide system.

The system, which has been used in other nearby cities on a limited basis, was tested in East Palo Alto on New Year's Eve 2007, a time when gun-happy celebrants are known to fire weapons into the air to ring in the New Year.

So far, 32 cities across the United States use the "ShotSpotter GLS" to pinpoint illegal discharges of firearms within limited areas of their jurisdictions. The system detects and triangulates the location of gunshots and explosions.

It also records incidents and tracks all accumulated data for crime analysis, enabling law enforcement to develop anti-crime strategies.

East Palo Alto is the first city in the country to use the system citywide, city officials said in a press release.

"The expansion of ShotSpotter citywide will enhance our ability to further reduce gun violence and enhance overall public safety," Police Chief Ron Davis said.

Since its Dec. 31, 2007 inauguration, the system has tracked an average of 30 gunshots per month -- more than 400 since its implementation. Seven suspects were arrested and 10 firearms were discovered, including evidence related to crimes, the release stated.

In one shooting incident, a gunshot victim at Stanford Hospital told medical personnel he was shot in East Palo Alto, but the system proved the shooting did not occur in the city. Investigation determined that the victim accidentally shot himself while committing an armed robbery in another city, police said.

On March 8, three gang members were arrested after a high-speed car chase when the "ShotSpotter" pinpointed gunfire by the suspects, whose car was then spotted by a police officer. The men were arrested after a chase over the Dumbarton Bridge when their car hit a curb and blew out its tires.

East Palo Alto has experienced a rise in shootings in the last year, the most recent on Nov. 5, when a 23-year-old man was wounded in a leg.

The expansion of the "ShotSpotter" system is being funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice through help from U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo.

Comments

Bill
Midtown
on Nov 11, 2008 at 6:41 am
Bill, Midtown
on Nov 11, 2008 at 6:41 am

Wonder how long before the same EPA residents start complaining about an overly zealous police force that has installed this technology that will increase the police presence in their lives.

EPA residents were roaming the streets recently, complaining about police presence in our town--wonder how long it will take them to complain about their own town?


JustMe
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 10:47 am
JustMe, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 10:47 am

I love this system. I love that not only does it assist in the capture of criminals, but as noted in the above article, it proved that a “victim” was lying and that he was himself the perpetrator of another crime. I think the biggest thing I love about it is the ability for the police to react quickly to the fact that someone may be hurt (shot) and get help there. It is entirely passive, yet it enables fast reaction to obvious trouble.

Kudos to EPA for installing and using this system. The only question I have it: What can the rest of us do to help?


Tina B
Menlo Park
on Nov 11, 2008 at 10:55 am
Tina B, Menlo Park
on Nov 11, 2008 at 10:55 am

I hear gun shots from the EPA area all the time. This technology is the best thing that could of happen to this area. Now when gun shots are reported police will know where its coming from. Kudos EPA..


JustMe
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 11:52 am
JustMe, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 11:52 am

Just curious about the definition of "city wide". Does that include the portion of EPA on the PA side of 101? Does it include portions of Palo Alto on the EPA side of 101? Does it include outlying areas out by the bay? Might it also include some overlap into other cities? Should those other cities be chipping in to help EPA cover the cost of the the system, installation and operation and maintainance? (I don't gather that EPA has a lot of spare bucks and could use a little help on something like this.)

Be warned though, if it becomes unsafe to fire your guns in EPA, those with guns may seek a safer place to fire them.


Just Wondering
Professorville
on Nov 11, 2008 at 12:20 pm
Just Wondering, Professorville
on Nov 11, 2008 at 12:20 pm

Uh-oh, I sure hope that gunshot contraption can distinguish between a white bullet and a black bullet or Mayor Klein will grab some more headline tile and claim it's bullet profiling.


To JustMe
East Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 2:01 pm
To JustMe, East Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 2:01 pm

What else can you do to help? Depending on how much time you have, and talents/inclinations, a lot!

-You can volunteer w/organizations,either ongoingly or once in a while. -You can make donations of $$ or food and/or clothing - there are a lot of places that can use assistance, such as Ecumenical Hunger Program or the police dept's holiday gift-giving.
-You can contact the police to see if you can do a ridealong.
-You can attend a city council meeting, to hear about our relevant issues.
-You can continue w/your thoughtful, open-minded & big-hearted attitude!


Bullet profiling?
East Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 2:05 pm
Bullet profiling?, East Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 2:05 pm

If the white bullets are doing wrong but garner very little police attention and the back bullets garner way more attention and super dumb comments from the police chief, you betcha - there will be bullet profiling.

EPA is equal opportunity for thugs and criminals - no discrimination of race or ethnic background & hardly any sexism. Us residents pay attention to a thug's behavior- their physical description is just that- a descriptor. Our police by & large, behave the same way, so they don't racially profile, they work to catch suspects. Perhaps your chief can learn a thing or two fro our officers. Come on over, Chief Johnson!


To Bill
East Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 2:07 pm
To Bill, East Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 2:07 pm

This is the thing, Bill - the majority of EPA residents are law abiding. We want the idiots with guns caught. Our chief, while imperfect, is too busy to suffer from the same amount of foot-in-mouth disease your chief does. Go on a ridealong and watch hardworking cops doing what needs to be done.


Good Point
East Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 2:13 pm
Good Point, East Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 2:13 pm

It's a joke - if a black cop stops a black resident because a crime was just committed by a black suspect, is that racial profiling? Of course not and we all know it. It's just amusing some of the people over here to march and carry on and pretend that they're being stopped with no good reason. I agree, we'd love to have Chief Johnson over here training our police department.


nobody
East Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 3:35 pm
nobody, East Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 3:35 pm

i live in epa and not only do i hear gun shots, but i dont see a cop come by for at least 20-30 min. we heard gun shots 1 night and seen a few people running sayin "he's got a gun shooting at us" so someone in the neighborhood called 911. they drove down the street one time. that was 2 hours after the call.


JustMe
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 6:03 pm
JustMe, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 6:03 pm

Dear nobody, as I have said before, EPA needs help. And lots of it. I used to live there, many years ago, remember the Peppertree Apartments where Home Depot is now? I remember the gunshots then, and I can still hear them from my Palo Alto home now. I still have very dear friends over there. It is not about race, it is not about profiling, or marches. It is about crime, drugs, infrastructure, and quality of life. It is about their education system, their city management, and their property values. It is all rolled into one big ball of mess.

EPA is bleeding. It needs help, and I don’t understand why it is not getting the help it needs. The police need to be responsive, but how many of them are there, and remember that they get shot too? Some of EPAs roads, through residential neighborhoods, are next to impassable and need fixing. The children need better education and more hope. There need to be jobs, clean and safe parks, and safe streets.

It is not right to take the attitude that EPA needs to clean itself up. That is handing EPA a next-to-impossible task because you are not offering any help to them. The problems EPA has spread to other communities, but they hit EPA first and hardest. Solving those problems is a collective task of the cities that surround EPA and the two counties that touch it. Leaving EPA to fester is like creating a ghetto, where these problems are permitted to exist and are only noticed when they spill into surrounding areas. The problem is there, in EPA, and we need to solve it as a group.

<stepping down from soapbox now>


Oh Well
Crescent Park
on Nov 11, 2008 at 7:06 pm
Oh Well, Crescent Park
on Nov 11, 2008 at 7:06 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Oh Well To You
another community
on Nov 11, 2008 at 9:11 pm
Oh Well To You, another community
on Nov 11, 2008 at 9:11 pm

This is the first time in a long while that I have read positive comments on these forums that is until I read your comment "Oh Well"

Like the saying goes "If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem"!

Yes, East Palo Alto needs the cooperation and assistance from its surrounding cities and counties, so let us get the dialogue going and the assistance coming.

Bless you a change is coming!


Walter_E_Wallis
Registered user
Midtown
on Nov 12, 2008 at 7:13 am
Walter_E_Wallis, Midtown
Registered user
on Nov 12, 2008 at 7:13 am

One of my biggest disappointments, after I spent years working to eliminate racial divisions, was the decision by Blacks and, to a lesser extent Hispanics, to voluntarily re-segregate themselves. Community organizers, race pimps and venal politicians paid off with sops from a government eager to expiate the guilt of an earlier era. All the sops put together could not come close to the rewards of a full participation in society they stand away from. What a shame!


Paul
Downtown North
on Nov 12, 2008 at 1:48 pm
Paul, Downtown North
on Nov 12, 2008 at 1:48 pm

Maybe they looked and didn't like what they saw. It's the free marketplace at work.



Wake Up
East Palo Alto
on Nov 12, 2008 at 9:06 pm
Wake Up, East Palo Alto
on Nov 12, 2008 at 9:06 pm

Profiling definatley exist even down to Palo Alto High School Kids. White kids at the school take off after shchool, practices or other activities with fellow students in the cars who are under age and the police pass right by them. My son was pulled over 3 times in less than half a school year by the Palo Alto Police. It totally pisses me off that they sit at embarcadero and E bayshore all hours of the night. What is the purpose of that. I have lived here all my life and they have been doing that all my like. I have yet to see one white person pulled over there. And yes as a home owner in EPa our city needs all they help we can get but work with us not against us.


I (heart) EPA
East Palo Alto
on Nov 13, 2008 at 4:07 pm
I (heart) EPA, East Palo Alto
on Nov 13, 2008 at 4:07 pm

Why don’t we take to the streets every time someone from our own community is shot! Not to justify the comment by the Chief but they had a rise in crime in PA and address the issue we’ve seen a spike in violence and no one has said anything about it but the media Why don’t we had out flyers of the victims asking people to come forward and letting the perpetrators know that were not going to put up with this senseless violence.

Where was the Coalition for change after the Nov 5 shooting Huh! Let take to the streets and take them back from these cowards who are our kids committing most of these crimes.


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